Thomas B. Kelley,
Tom Kelley joined Killmer, Lane & Newman, LLP at the close of 2018, after retiring from a career of over 40 years defending the rights and privileges of journalists and news organizations. Tom has been described by Chambers USA as "a go-to guy in libel defense and media litigation in Colorado and nationally. His ease in the courtroom and excellent judgment [are] singled out by our clients." Tom was honored with the Champion of the First Amendment Award at the 2019 ABA Forum on Communications Law.
Tom's core mission for the remainder of his career is social justice advocacy on behalf of individuals, including journalists who lack the means to employ counsel.
Tom previously was with the national media and entertainment practice of Ballard Spahr, LLP and before that with the highly regarded First Amendment boutique law firm Levine Sullivan Koch & Schulz, which merged with Ballard Spahr in October 2017.
Defended NBCUniversal, Inc., in an action alleging defamation and unlawful hidden camera recording brought by Brokers' Choice of America, and prevailed in the District of Colorado and the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals.
Defended Gawker Media, LLC, in a defamation action by former Major League Baseball pitcher Mitch Williams in New Jersey Superior Court and prevailed on a motion for summary judgment on grounds of failure to show actual malice.
Successfully defended The Durango Herald and its former arts and entertainment editor in the District of Arizona and the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in a tort action arising from an email the editor sent to the publicist of a religious-oriented musical group.
Successfully defended a filmmaker in the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals after the plaintiff, a drywall contractor, challenged the district court's award of summary judgment in a libel action arising from a documentary on the employment of migrant laborers. The court held that the film involved a matter of public concern and that the plaintiff had not offered sufficient proof of actual malice as required under Colorado law.
Represented The Denver Post in the trial and appeal of a seminal Colorado court case that established the rule that the actual malice standard applies in libel actions brought by private figures that involve matters of public concern.
Successfully represented Penthouse International, Inc., in an appeal to the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals that reversed a $26.5 million jury verdict and recognized First Amendment protection for satire.